If you are sexually active, or thinking of becoming sexually active, it is important that you Talk. Test. Treat. to protect your health. These three small actions can have a big impact on your sexual health!
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Talk openly and honestly to your partner(s) and your healthcare provider about sexual health and STDs.
Talk with your partner(s) BEFORE having sex. Not sure how? We have tips to help you start the conversationexternal icon. Make sure your discussion covers several important ways to make sex safer:
- Talk about when you were last tested and suggest getting tested together.
- If you have an STD (like herpes or HIV), tell your partner.
- Agree to only have sex with each other.
- Use latex condoms the right way for every act of vaginal, anal, and oral sex throughout the entire sex act (from start to finish).
Talk with your healthcare provider about your sex life, and ask what STD tests you should be getting and how often.
- Not all medical checkups include STD testing, so don’t assume that you’ve been tested unless you discuss it with your provider.
- Ask your healthcare provider whether certain vaccines, like the hepatitis B vaccine or the HPV vaccine are right for you.
Get tested. It’s the only way to know for sure if you have an STD.
Many STDs don’t cause any symptoms, so you could have one and not know. If you’re having sex, getting tested is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health.
Find out which STD tests CDC recommends for you. Even if you’re pregnant, you can still get an STD. If you’re having sex, you’re still at risk.
If you’re not comfortable talking with your regular healthcare provider about STDs, find a clinic near you that provides confidential testing that’s free or low cost.
If you test positive for an STD, work with your healthcare provider to get the correct treatment.
Some STDs can be cured with the right medicine, and all STDs are treatable. Make sure your treatment works by doing these things:
- Take all of the medication your healthcare provider prescribes, even if you start feeling better or your symptoms go away.
- Don’t share your medicine with anyone.
- Avoid having sex again until you and your sex partner(s) have all completed treatment.
Your healthcare provider can talk with you about which medications are right for you.